This week I got a great surprise from one of Vickies friends. She brought us a whole bunch of dirty socks and shoes from her friends, employees and neighbors just to help me out with my Scent Discrimination Training. See what we do is, Vickie takes all the shoes and throws them out in a field. Then she lets me smell a dirty sock that belongs to the person who wore one of the shoes out in the field.
Then I go out and smell all the dirty shoes.....wahooey.....until I find the one that smells the same as the dirty sock. Then I pick up the shoe and bring it back to Vickie and then we play play play with my new toy that you can read about in a minute.
It is great fun and I am really really good at it.....
Of course Jamie, In her day, was the best ever at this but I am going to practice and practice so I can one day be as good as Jamie was.
You may wonder what this has to do with being the GREATEST SEARCH DOG IN THE WORLD but I'll tel you right now that it is a really important part of my training. Vickie says sometimes when she goes on searches that there are hundreds of other people from the community up helping look for the lost person.
If I can learn to know which smell is the smell of the person who is lost, then I wont be confused with all the other smells from all the other people looking. Does that makes sense? Anyway thank you thank you to all of Penelope Cromwells friends, neighbors and other employees. You sent us some really smelly stuff and that makes my job much easier.
Now for some more GOOD NEWS......Finally, finally my new toy arrived. This toy is supposed to be chew proof, indestructable and I get to be the boy who tests it. People everywhere will be checking in to see if I can eat this, tear it up, rip it to pieces, and then swallow the squeeker inside blocking my stomach and making it so I get to go spend time at the vets again while they cut me open and take it out.
Now I gotta tell you that my last squeeker experience was not a pleasant one, but for my friend Jill at Pet Expectaions, I am willing to try again. Of course Vickie is watching me very closely and is only allowing me play time with this great toy while she is present.
Hopefully, I will give it my best shot and it will be true to its creators claims. I then can pass the good news on to all my other dog friends. Finally a soft toy we can enjoy.
So, I slept with it my first night. It is like a little tiny soft pacifyer that I fell asleep with in my mouth. I liked it so much that I made Vickie take it with me to the dog training on Saturday. The plan was she would keep it in her back pack until after my test.....then when I found my lost person I would get to play with my new toy.
Of course that was the plan, but then Rosco came along and took it out of the back pack and tried to keep it for himself. I know I am supposed to share, but really Rosco......I have only had it for 12 hours. I haven't even broke it in. And I am the tester dog, not you......
I don't mean to be rude, but I just had to get it back. Rosco tried to keep it and we ran around for a good long while trying to pull it away from each other....That Rosco is a strong willed dog. I finally had to go get Vickie and convince her (I do this by looking insecure and standing on her front with a sad face) to get my toy and put it in a safe place.....away from those other dogs.
So now we come to the Bad News. It is finally time for me to be tested to begin my official journey to becoming the BEST SEARCH DOG IN THE WHOLE WORLD. Joyce had come early to our training area in Wyoming and had set up my test.
I started out and came to a bridge where I found her first scent article. This was given to me so that I would know exactly who I was smelling......and looking for.....like I didn't know.....
I wasn't worried and I did just fine.....It was Vickie who messed things up. Yep, I missed by 8 minutes. Just because Vickie was not willing to wade through one more swamp to get to our missing person. I couldn't beleive her. I smelled the person, I knew where they were and I was heading straight for them. But you see, to pass this first test, both the handler (Vickie) amd the dog (me) need to be with the Victim or lost person at the same time.
Because Vickie wanted to hike around the iddy biddy little swamp, we lost precious time and, you guessed it......we did not pass.
Man, I had done such a good job too. I had found the track of the missing person and had followed it through hill and dale, creek and swamp, up and down. I found all three of the articles left by the victim along the trail and that aint easy, let me tell you. I was incredible.
Vickie, well, she did ok. She kept up with me most of the time, she crossed the creeks waided through the swamps, climbed over and through the fallen trees, but when it came to the crunch, that final swamp, she backed off. Now granted, it was deep and slimy and smelly but it didn't bother me, so whats up with it bothering her........
When we finally got back to the command post, I started noticing that I was itchy and that my coat was full of sticky things. I guess I ran through some pretty bad stuff cause what ever it was was pinching and grabbing at my skin too. Vickie and I sat over in a big field by the river and I chewed and pulled, while she carefully untangled the little bounders out of my coat.
My coat was all wet, you know, because of the cool swamps that I got to run through and so they were pretty hard to get out. We got some out but it was clear it would be a bigger job than we had time for so after the training, we headed back to Utah with the plan of pulling the rest out while we relaxed at home that night.
When we got home, to my great joy, my neighbors asked if they could take me and Tristy and Byron (a little guy that is staying with us) all to the park. Byron isn't really his name. That is just what my friends want to call him until his family picks out a name for him.....truthfully though, I kind of think Byron fits.
I thought I was too tired to go to the park but how can you say no to running and playing ball with a bunch of guys. So while Vickie took Erin and Chase home, we all went to the park.
WE had a GREAT TIME......I played for a bit, then I needed a short rest and then I got my second wind and boy did I have fun. They played ball with me, they taught me how to NOT grab the ball out of peoples hands.....We frolicked with little Byrong and we even just sat around and they petted us and they combed some more of the burrs out of my coat.
It was a wonderful ending to a long and fun day.
I guess it is not the end of the world, because I didn't pass my first test. I mean technically I did really good. It was Vickie that messed us up. So I'll test again in the near future, hopefully before the winter snows come. If there is a search before that, well, they will just have to get along with out me.
So I leave you with a picture of Tristy resting with the beautiful sun shining through the tall trees in the back ground
And Byron and Alexander taking a break as well. Love to all my friends. I think I am finally getting tired and ready to call it an evening.
I'll keep you posted on my new toy as time goes by.